An Open Letter To Mr. Chatfield

Dear Mr. Chatfield, 

I’m writing you to express my opposition to Senate Bill 1211, regarding the removal of regulations on some half a million acres of wetlands in the state of Michigan. As your constituent, I’d like to outline what I feel we stand to lose with this legislation.

Michigan’s wetlands are where I first learned how to fish—on small inland lakes as a child, where I’d wade amongst cattails, where I first felt the tug of a bluegill. I remember hot afternoons spent wading through the soft, cool riffles of a blue-ribbon trout stream just down the road from my house. I remember walking through cedar swamps to get to my dad’s hunting blind, and finding a group of bull elk hiding amongst the boughs. I remember exploring the creek behind a friend’s house, and catching my first trout in the pond that creek fed in their backyard.

These are just a few of my many personal memories of the lakes, rivers and wetlands of my great home state of Michigan, and these are memories I want salvaged for my own children. I know you grew up in Northern Michigan, and therefore I know you share at least one of these experiences with me. No matter how much time you did or didn’t spend outside as a kid, I know you’ve gotta have at least one memory of standing next to a muddy inland lake with a cheap fishing pole, catching panfish with someone you love.

I hope you conjure those memories and moments when considering the purported benefits of this legislation and when voting on it in the near future. Your children and your children’s children will be grateful to have these special places, places where they too can catch their first fish or see a bull elk or play in the mud. After all, we only grieve what we know, and what I know is this: those muddy lakes and tiny rivers and thick swamps form some of my sweetest memories, memories with my parents and sisters and friends, memories of a lifetime spent exploring Michigan’s wild places. And I can’t imagine anything more important than that. 


Amanda Monthei

Indian River, Michigan